Lynn Melnick: An Interview

Lynn Melnick is a poet and has been published all over the country. She also a few books of poetry out as well.

You can find her on social media HERE and at @LynnMelnick


Here’s some reviews of her poetry books

LANDSCAPE WITH SEX AND VIOLENCE

 Available at: YesYes Books SPD IndieBound | Amazon

Landscape with Sex and Violence is vital reading for the #MeToo movement."

  San Francisco Chronicle

“Melnick combines the readability of fiction with the compression of poetry. Having both qualities in a single collection is a rare achievement." Brooklyn Rail


Catch her at the below events!

Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 / 7:00 pm

Emotive Fruition, a collaborative reading series where actors work with poets to bring new poetry to the stage

Caveat, 21A Clinton St., NYC

Thursday, March 28, 2018 / 9 am

panel: SaferLIT: Fighting Sexual Misconduct in the Literary World

AWP Conf, B110-112, OR Convention Center, Level 1, Portland, Oregon

with Jen Benka, Jeffrey Leppendorf, Deborah Paradez, & Elissa Washuta

Thursday, March 28, 2018 / 7:15 pm

panel: Women's Caucus

AWP Conference, E145, OR Convention Center, Level 1, Portland, Oregon

with Kelly Forsythe, Hafizah Geter, Jenn Givhan, & Melissa Studdard

Saturday, March 30, 2019 / all day

The Gathering

Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem, NC

with Kaveh Akbar, Renee Emerson. Li-Young Lee, Marilyn Nelson, & Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Thursday, April 11, 2019 / 7 pm

Poetry Reading

Community Bookstore, 143 7th Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn

with Rosebud Ben-Oni and Diane Mehta


Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Lynn, and I write poetry.

Why did you choose writing poetry over other mediums? 

It's possible that poetry chose me, but to the extent that it is by far my best skill, I suppose I chose it, and for that reason, and also because it continuously excites me.

What is one way you developed your voice as a writer? 

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I'm not sure, actually. I mean, I always read a lot but when I write I just sound like me. If I'm developing, and I hope I am, it is into even more myself, into not being shy at all on the page, into more risk taking.


Do you ever get worried about the vulnerability you write about on the page? 

Oh, absolutely, all the time! When I'm writing I don't worry about that at all, because writing is such a high and I never think of audience or anyone actually having to read what I wrote. But then I finish and send the work out and am mortified.


Why is your work relevant and important in today's culture? 

I'm a feminist, and I write a lot about violence against women, about abortion, sex work, sex. I write a lot about things that, even in the 21st century, people often don't want to read or think about. But it's important that they do.


What kinds of poems are you currently writing about? As in what is the latest project you are working on?

I'm working on a manuscript that is trying to come to terms with my Jewish heritage and the misogyny in religion amid a climate in the US where antisemitism is quite on the rise. I'm also grappling with what it means to be a woman in the US right now, with all the hell we're going through politically.


What do you love about performing your poetry on stage? Do you write poems knowing that they will be performed? Does it change your writing? 

I guess I could say I love bringing my work to people, because I do want to be heard and read. But I am very shy by nature and don't like public speaking, so it's not exactly a pleasant experience for me. I totally dissociate sometimes and don't even remember what I did up there. But it's worth it. And, no, as I mentioned above, I never think about audience while writing, for better or worse.


How do you react to feedback about your writing? Do you seek it out or look at it as it comes to you? 

Hmm, well, nice book reviews are wonderful and mean ones hurt. I've been lucky that the nice have far outweighed the mean, but I've gotten a lot of crap from trolls online and through my website contact form. Apparently there are a lot of men who think women who write about sex, in all the various ways that I do, are worthy of name-calling. As far as feedback on works-in-progress, I have several readers I show my manuscripts to before I send them into the world.


What advice do you have for the next generation of poets coming up now? 

Never let anyone else define who you are or what you say or how you say it.


What are the differences you learned working with a small press and a bigger editing house such as Viking? 

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I love YesYes Books, and working with them has been amazing. Small presses can focus on each individual author more and have a continued relationship even after the book is long out in the world. I had a lot of say on the cover and interior designs. I had a lot of support whenever an issue arose during the publication process, and a lot of promotional support online. Bigger presses like Viking obviously have bigger marketing and distribution machines, and that can make a huge difference in the life and success of the book, but they publish so many books that the window for focusing on yours, and you as an author, is much smaller. And because big presses are often tied to big companies, they are more profit driven (which is why poetry is mostly on small presses). That said, my Viking editor was and is tremendous. I'm very lucky to have two amazing publishing homes.







Fun Questions

If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items would you want with you? 

A hair band, cinnamon tea, a sexy yet comfortable dress, the internet, sunscreen

If you could have coffee with any artist who would it be? 

Dolly Parton

If you could go back in time where would you go? 

I really wish I could have met my husband's grandmother, so I'd like to go back in time to meet her.


Where is your favorite place to write? 

On my couch in Brooklyn